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Rodriguez Asalde v. First Class Parking Systems LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

August 3, 2018

FLOR ANDREA RODRIGUEZ ASALDE, JOHN CONDE, JAVIER ANTONIO CABRERA SAVINOVICH, and all others similarly situated under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), Plaintiffs - Appellants,
v.
FIRST CLASS PARKING SYSTEMS LLC, a.k.a. 1ST CLASS VALET SERVICE, SEBASTIAN LOPEZ, JORGE ZULUAGA, Defendants - Appellees.

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 1:16-cv-20027-MGC

          Before JORDAN and JILL PRYOR, Circuit Judges. [1]

          JORDAN, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         We withdraw our previous opinion, reported at 894 F.3d 1248 (11th Cir. 2018), and issue this opinion in its place.

         Flor Andrea Rodriguez Asalde and others worked as valets for First Class Parking Systems LLC in Miami-Dade County, Florida. They brought claims against FCPS and its owners (whom we refer to collectively as FCPS) under the minimum-wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of FCPS, concluding that there was no "enterprise" coverage under the FLSA.

         Following a review of the record, and with the benefit of oral argument, we conclude that FCPS was not entitled to summary judgment on the issue of "enterprise" coverage. Based on the evidence, a jury could find that the valet tickets used by the plaintiffs in their work for FCPS constituted "materials" under the FLSA's "handling clause," thereby providing "enterprise" coverage. See 29 U.S.C. § 203(s)(1)(A)(i).

         I

         The FLSA covers certain employment scenarios. See, e.g., 29 U.S.C. §  203(s). The plaintiffs here asserted in part that their employment by FCPS as valets was covered by the "materials" prong of the "handling clause" under the "enterprise" coverage provision in the Act. See Polycarpe v. E&S Landscaping Serv., Inc., 616 F.3d 1217, 1220-21 (11th Cir. 2010). Cf. Thorne v. All Restoration Servs., Inc., 448 F.3d 1264, 1266 (11th Cir. 2006) (addressing "individual" coverage rather than "enterprise" coverage). The "handling clause" provides that an entity is subject to "enterprise" coverage under the FLSA if it "has employees handling, selling, or otherwise working on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for [interstate or international] commerce by any person." 29 U.S.C. § 203(s)(1)(A)(i). See also § 203(b) (defining "commerce"). The entity must also have an "annual gross volume of sales made or business done [of] not less than $500, 000," § 203(s)(1)(A)(ii), but that requirement is not at issue on appeal because FCPS stipulated that it earned at least $500, 000 in the years at issue. See D.E. 44-4, Deposition of Sebastian Lopez at 11.

         When it moved for summary judgment, FCPS argued in part that the plaintiffs could not show that any employees handled any qualifying "goods or materials." The district court agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of FCPS on this basis alone. The court concluded that the cars parked by the plaintiffs were not "materials" under the FLSA. It also ruled that "the fact that [the plaintiffs] handled walkie-talkies, pens, uniforms, valet tickets and other items that originated out of state" did not change the "instrastate nature of their work" because "[FCPS] was the ultimate consumer of those goods." Rodriguez Asalde v. First Class Parking Sys. LLC, 2016 WL 5464599, at *2-3 & n.4 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 29, 2016).

         II

         We review the district court's summary judgment order de novo, and view the evidence (and inferences) in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, who were the non-moving parties. See Howlett v. Birkdale Shipping Co., S.A., 512 U.S. 92, 94 (1994); Penley v. Eslinger, 605 F.3d 843, 848 (11th Cir. 2010). We hold that the evidence presented by the plaintiffs permits a jury to find that the valet tickets they used while working for FCPS were "materials" within the meaning of § 203(s)(1)(A)(i).

         III

         "Goods" and "materials" are distinct (i.e., not overlapping) categories; an object may be a "good" in certain contexts and a "material" in others. See Polycarpe, 616 F.3d at 1222, 1225-27. The term "goods" is defined broadly in the Act. See id. at 1222 (quoting 29 U.S.C. § 203(i)). The term "materials" is not defined at all. See Rodriguez v. Gold Star, Inc., 858 F.3d 1368, 1370 (11th Cir. 2017) (decided after the district court's ruling in this case); Polycarpe, 616 F.3d at 1222.[2]

         In Polycarpe, we concluded that "materials" are "tools or other articles necessary for doing or making something," 616 F.3d at 1224, but added a cautionary footnote: "We do not rule out today that additional meanings of 'materials' might also exist that also preserve the unchanged 'goods' definition and the important ultimate-consumer exception. But no party has drawn our attention to such a definition of 'materials' in this case." Id. at 1224 n.4.

         We set out the following test for determining whether an item constitutes a ...


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